Impeachment, partisanship, and defending the indefensible

Now it’s official: the Government Accountability Office (chief federal watchdog agency) has determined that Trump’s Ukraine aid shakedown broke the law.

So Republicans can no longer pretend “he did nothing wrong,” and that holding up the aid was within his presidential prerogative, regardless of the reason. No, says the GAO, it was not — regardless of the reason, genuine or fake.

And of course there was no plausible genuine reason. Trump’s “combating Ukraine corruption” doesn’t pass the laugh test. He was trying to extort a bribe (smearing a political opponent) in exchange for releasing the aid. Republicans point out the articles of impeachment don’t actually say “bribery” or “extortion.” Omission of those plain words doesn’t change the reality; they’re the substance of the case.

Exactly the sort of “high crime” the founders meant in the Constitution’s impeachment section. Abuse of the presidential office for personal gain. (Not “abuse of power” because Trump actually didn’t even have the power to do what he did.)

Is impeachment an attempt to “undo the last election,” or pre-empt the next? No, those cries are ridiculous. Elections and impeachments are separate in the Constitution. And that’s particularly pertinent in this case, where it’s the election itself Trump tried to corrupt. His attempt failed only because the whistle was blown.

Lawyers say if the facts support you, pound the facts. If the law supports you, pound the law. If neither, pound the table. That’s what Republicans are doing. Screaming, with intensifying hysteria, that Democrats are perverting the Constitution out of sheer partisanship. But let’s examine this seriously.

Are Democrats Trump’s political opponents? Yes, of course. Just as Republicans opposed Obama. We do have a two-party system. Have they forgotten the ferocity of their partisan opposition to Obama? Talk about trying to undo an election — they actually denied his right to office, Trump himself leading the “birther” crusade, challenging Obama’s citizenship. Vile nonsense, by the way. There was no record of his mother ever being in Kenya. And being a U.S. citizen, her son would have been born one too, even if overseas.

But this shows how deranged Republican hatred for Obama was. Now they talk as though Democrats’ opposition to Trump is somehow similarly deranged. As though it’s just blind partisan tribal hatred, unmoored from any rational reasons. But there are perfectly rational reasons. Democrats hate Trump because he is hateful. The worst human being, biggest liar, most corrupt selfish person ever to hold the office. But never mind his character. It’s his actions. Coddling dictators while shredding our alliances. Separating children from parents. Not summoning the better angels of our nature, but stirring a toxic brew of people’s worst impulses. The list goes on and on. Republicans blind themselves to it all; Democrats cannot.

Yet not for any of this is he being impeached. Nor even his clear attempts to obstruct justice as proven in the Mueller report. It’s for his incontrovertible, indefensible Ukraine crime.

Is that partisanship, perverting the Constitution? No, it’s upholding the law and the Constitution, Congress fulfilling its assigned duty, protecting our democracy. If Trump’s Ukraine extortion attempt didn’t incur impeachment, no presidential misconduct ever could, and the presidency would now be above the law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: